The new Samsung TV models that attracted so much worthy attention at CES, featuring voice & gesture control, are finally shipping. Several commercials are being aired promoting the impressive hands-free remote control of TV channels, content and Smart Hub apps.
What’s equally impressive is that these features, categorized as “Smart Interaction” have been opened up to the app building community. Within the documentation for the Samsung SmartTV SDK version 3.1, Samsung details how voice controls are relayed as events to the client side app.
Also under the Smart Interaction category are APIs for engaging the TV’s camera, a feature on many of the high end models in the new line. Some coverage back around CES indicated the new SmartTV SDK would include facial recognition features as well. “Samsung will enable developers to use gesture and voice control, as well as facial recognition in the next generation of their TV apps.” These don’t appear in the SDK documentation just yet, but could open many possibilities when launched.
On the surface, it seems Samsung may have leap-frogged Microsoft’s Xbox Kinnect in terms of fostering app developers creating extremely unique and interactive 3rd party apps. However, memory and processing power of Samsung’s line of TVs and BluRays could remain a limiting factor in the near future. Also, the line of premium titles on Xbox Kinect, including the recently announced Star Wars title, will continue driving the gaming market towards the traditional powerful console form factor.
We’ll be watching closely as the first wave of 3rd party voice/gesture enabled Samsung TV apps push Z Space interaction into new and interactive territory.